Are you suffering from excessive itching? You may be experiencing itchy skin, also called pruritus. Often, it can get so bad that you have a constant urge to scratch. Several underlying conditions can cause overwhelming itching. They range from skin rashes, dermatitis, allergic reactions and even internal diseases. If you cannot relieve your itchiness, it is important to contact your doctor to diagnose the cause and recommend treatment.
The itchy feeling you experience can be located in one particular spot or all over your body. There are so many possible causes. Though rare, diabetes or kidney disease can cause itchiness, but so can dry skin. Keep reading to learn more about the causes.
Stress is known to trigger several reactions, including skin itching. It makes your skin more reactive and prone to inflammatory issues. Stress can make you more susceptible to acne, eczema, hives and psoriasis. When you start to get overly concerned about your skin’s appearance due to one of these conditions, you can create a relationship between stress and itchiness. Also, studies have shown that stress releases hormones that affect nerve endings and cause skin inflammation.
There are several skin conditions and illnesses that cause annoying itching.
Illnesses and Disorders
Irritants can cause itchy skin because they are substances that cause an adverse reaction through contact. Sometimes it can be a reaction to dyes or perfumes. Other times, it can be a chemical reaction from poisonous plants like poison oak or ivy. Food allergies can also lead to skin irritants, as well as mosquito bites.
When your skin looks normal, yet it is very itchy, you may be suffering from an internal disease. Possible causes include:
There are several disorders that affect the nervous system. Several of these conditions can cause uncontrollable itching, including:
If you are suffering from itchy skin, it may be caused from a medication you are taking or recently discontinued. Common medications causing skin irritation include:
If you are pregnant, you may experience intense itching on your arms, thighs, breasts or stomach. This can be caused by the stretching of your skin or dry skin conditions. If you suffer from a preexisting skin disorder like psoriasis or eczema, it may get worse.
If you stay in the sun too long, you increase your risk of sunburn. There are several symptoms of sunburn, including itching. Other signs include:
The best way to prevent your skin from burning is to use a sunscreen whenever you go outside. Use a SPF of 30 or above, even in cloudy conditions. Keep in mind that you are most likely to suffer from sunburn between 10 am to 4 pm.
Often, itchy skin can be caused by something as simple as dry skin. When you are not suffering from a rash or other changes to your skin, this is probably the culprit. Common reasons for dry skin, also called xerosis, are bathing or showering too much, aging skin, and constant use of central heating or air conditioning.
You should contact your doctor for an evaluation if you experience the following:
Seeing your doctor is important if you can’t pinpoint the cause of your uncontrollable itching because it may be due to an underlying condition that can be remedied by the proper treatment.
Once you make your appointment, you will undergo a physical exam and your doctor will question you about your condition. Questions include:
Your doctor may order other diagnostic tests if needed. Possible tests include:
Once a determination can be made, your doctor will know the best course of treatment. If it is an underlying condition, your itchiness may not go away until the illness is resolved. If it is less serious, it may only take a prescription topical cream or lotion to take care of the issue.